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Human Trafficking and Slavery, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 1476

Essay

Introduction

The United Nations’ UN.GIFT program document defines human trafficking as the illegal transport or abduction of individuals from developing countries in order to financially exploit them. As the document (UN 6) confirms: “Trafficking in persons is dynamic, adaptable, opportunistic and, like many other forms of criminal activity, it takes advantage of conflicts, humanitarian disasters and the vulnerability of people in situations of crisis. Therefore, human trafficking is not only a crime itself, but a source of several other, related crimes, such as illegal recruitment, sexual exploitation, and human rights offenses. The most common methods used by human traffickers are false marriages, illegal recruitment in developing countries offering work in developed countries, and the purchase of children. The UN.GIFT program is designed to combat criminal activities related to human trafficking, through governmental and non-governmental international collaboration.

Effects of international trafficking

Masci (2004) confirms that globalization has a great impact on the trends within human trafficking. Quoting the “Human Trafficking in Persons Report”, the author states that there are some countries that actively fight against human trafficking, while others do “little or nothing”. The countries identified as Tier 3 (not fighting human trafficking) by the Department of State are Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Myanmar, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Georgia, Greece, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Liberia, North Korea, Sudan, Suriname, Turkey, and Uzbekistan. Interestingly, some of these countries have a high level of involvement with the United Nations, still, there are no legislation to prevent international trafficking of persons.

Masci (285) states that in the United States, not only foreign nationals fall victims of human traffickers. As the report concludes: “American children also are preyed upon by pimps, who troll malls and clubs in search of teenagers they can “turn” (285). Gangs preying on foreign nationals, illegal immigrants, vulnerable people are everywhere in the United States, and while there are some provisions in place to protect children and vulnerable adults, the report states the number of citizen victims is estimated between 100.000 and 300.000.

The UN.Gift document calls for an intergovernmental approach in every country; either mainly the receiver of human trafficking or the originator. The United States should create a network that includes communities, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and implements an international trafficking protocol to protect citizens of the United States and vulnerable foreign nationals alike. Child trafficking is on the rise in the United States, according to the report of the United Nations (UN ONODC Report, 62), however, the majority of victims in the country are still vulnerable adults. Further, the Polaris Project document states that “Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are highly vulnerable due to a combination of factors, including: lack of legal status and protections, language barriers, limited employment options, poverty and immigration-related debts, and social isolation. “

The Athens Ethical Principles (2006) contains some guidelines for countries, including the SMWIMP initiative, created to stop human trafficking. It does not require legislation and the criminalization of human trafficking, however, it encourages companies to make provisions to prevent involvement in criminal groups’ activities. The main principles of this document are concluding zero tolerance towards trafficking of humans, companies’ and organizations’ contribution towards prevention, and training, ethical principles within the organization.

Effects on domestic trafficking

According to the 2014 report of the U.S. Government and the International Labor Organization, the annual profits from forced labor cost a total of “US$150 billion

in illegal profits” (U.S. Department of State, 2). While in America and other UN countries there are provisions in place to protect the rights of humans arriving and those who are vulnerable to human traffickers, it is important to note that the negligence of other countries cost America a substantial amount of money. According to the research of the United Nations (UN 2014 report, 13), 27 percent of victims are trafficked within the same country. The most common type of trafficking is cross-border, for example taking people for domestic or agricultural work exploitation from Mexico to the United States.

In America, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act is designed to prevent activities related to exploitation and abuse of human beings. However, without international collaboration, the statistics cannot be changed, and America will attract more groups trafficking people to the country for exploitation. This, itself, will increase illegal activities, crime levels, and cost the country billions of dollars.

Children who fall victims of domestic human traffickers are scarred for life, and are often forced to join a criminal gang, work as prostitutes, or lure other children into the organization.

Psychological and physical impact on victims and families

Zimmermann et al.  researched the impact of human trafficking on the lives of victims and their families. One in five women abducted and forced into slavery reported that their family knew the trafficker. In some cases, human trafficking incurs within the family, as the study found. Women questioned by the researchers also reported that they faced some kind of violence before being trafficked within the family. 32 percent of the respondents were sexually abused prior to getting into the trafficking situation. 76 percent of women stated that they were physically abused during the trafficking situation. Many respondents forced into prostitution were kicked when they were pregnant, threatened with a knife or burnt with a lit cigarette. Over 10 percent had fractures or sprains. 89 percent of women were threatened, while 36 percent of the respondents stated that their family was threatened. Psychological impacts of physical abuse and the loss of freedom included severe and co-morbid mental health problems. Many victims’ central nervous system was so severely damaged that they had, recurring stress-related migraines. Many reported depression, anxiety, and hostility towards other people. 95 percent of women interviewed by the researchers reported depression after being freed from human traffickers.

75 percent of women reported recurring memories and disturbing thoughts of the past events related to their captivity, according to Zimmermann et al. (20). 54 percent had recurring nightmares, while 65 percent felt like they had no future. This horrifying statistical data confirms that victims or this type of crime will be affected not only during they are victimized and exploited, but long after it. The loss of self-esteem, recurring depression and anxiety prevents many of them from starting a new life, trusting people, building healthy relationships. Therefore, preventing human trafficking is the only way vulnerable people can have a chance for a normal life.

Statistical data

The United Nations’ 2012 global report on human trafficking confirms that minors are the most vulnerable among all persons exploited. Between 2007 and 2010, among all people trafficked in the Middle East and Africa, 68 percent were children. (UN, 74). In the two above region, 47 percent of victims were forced into illegal labor or slavery, while 44 percent were sexually exploited. Statistics also confirm that human trafficking is more prevalent worldwide among women.

The Polaris Project (Polaris 2) states that almost 50.000 human trafficking victims were identified worldwide in 2009. However, the report also states that in 2007 800.000 people were trafficked across borders alone. The problem is that the identification ratio of victims is low, as they are either unable to contact authorities or afraid of coming forward. The statistics show that at least 56 percent of humans trafficked are women. The cost of human trafficking in the U.S. is estimated at $32 billion.

The statistics related to the forms of exploitation (UN 2014 report 12) show variance in the type of exploitation related to human trafficking. In Europe and Central Asia, 62 percent of victims are sexually exploited, while 49 percent of those originating from Africa or Middle East are forced to work as a slave, held captive in their new country.

Conclusion

The above review of the human trafficking situation worldwide has revealed that there is still plenty to do to protect those most vulnerable. Without successfully creating a collaboration on the international level, creating protocols for countries currently in the Tier 3 group based on their human trafficking provision effectiveness, it is impossible to stop the trends. The recent changes in the international economies due to globalization mean that all countries should take responsibility for protecting their own citizens and aliens alike. While the United Nations works alongside with governments to create legal frameworks for protecting national states’ vulnerable population from falling a victim of human traffickers, everybody has a share of responsibility to protect, identify victims, and report any suspicious activity. Therefore, creating awareness of the issue, collecting information on the most vulnerable population is extremely important.

Works Cited

Masci, D. “Human Trafficking and Slavery” In: The QC Researcher. 2004. Web.

U.N.GIFT “Human Trafficking: An Overview” united nations office on drugs and crime Vienna. 2008. Web.

UNODC “Global Report On Trafficking In Persons” 2012. Web.

U.S. Department of State “Trafficking in Persons Report 2014” 2014. Web.

TIP Office. “Trafficking in Persons Report” 2014. Web.

Zimmermann, C., Hossain, M., Yun, K., Roche, B., Morison, L. and Watts, C. “Stolen smiles: a summary report on the physical and psychological health consequences of women and adolescents trafficked in Europe”. 2006. Web.

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